Overall Grade: (D)
This was a classic example that you can ruin a decent movie when being so close to pulling it off.
A young guide and a wealthy business man go on a hunting trip in the Mohave Desert and after a tragic accident they engage in a deadly game of survival.
I had a good amount of anticipation for this film and after hearing some of the negative reviews I was surprised. Regardless I still decided to give it a shot and for the most part I found it moderately enjoyable. There have been other films like this that told a more compelling story but this one still had some good moments.
Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine both delivered enjoyable performances. Douglas has played the role of wealthy tycoon throughout his career with success and this film was no different. He felt the part visually with his attire and rich-man toys, and he delivered his dialogue as well with good expression, and a cold calculation that felt like the personality of a true business shark.
Jeremy Irvine was also very good, I had not seen him prior to this film and after his performance I would like to see him in other works. Together they worked well and only added to the material they were given.
The settings and backdrops were excellently captured on camera and the choice of shooting locations added a great visual appeal to many of the scenes. You could feel the harsh impact of the weather and it gave the film a strong ominous location for the old life and death game of man versus man hunting.
For the most part the story-line was simple but decent enough to entertain. The characters will a little thin in development but there was enough information given added with their actions to build you a feel of who these men were and what fueled their motivations and actions.
There were some fun and clever moments as Ben fights to survive Madec, and the elements surrounding him, using his knowledge of the area to exert is resilience. Madec’s frustration with this resourcefulness also added a few chuckles along the way to make you root for Ben’s success even more.
** Spoilers Below **
Even after a bulk of the film had progressed I was entertained enough to not understand the low ratings this film received. Sure there was some lulls in the pace and some slow spots that were unneeded for such a thrilling premise but it was not a deal breaker. Even after the climax I could admit it was far from exceptional but still passable. Then the last handful of minutes strategically began to take what enjoyment and plausibility it had created and started chiseling it away one second at a time.
After only a few minutes a film that was moderately enjoyable became a laughing stock as the script tried to get too cute by wrapping itself up with about as cliche a closing as you could ever see. As the credits began to roll I suddenly could see why despite strong performances from Douglas and Irvine, this film was instantly forgettable.
In real life rich people often get away with terrible things and it’s simply a part of society. The entire message this film spent the run-time trying to establish was completely shattered by the same writers in the final minutes. “Beyond the Reach” failed horribly to seal the deal on a decent survival film and in the end it is not worth the time unless you are a fan of the sub-genre or the cast in particular and passing on this one for something better would be a wise move.